Dutch Military Intervention Decision Making Revisited Getting A (Constitutional) Grip On 21st Century Wars.

October 1st 2009 - 12:00

Definitions of national security and how it should be defended have changed radically over the past two decades. Interpretations have been stretched from a narrow conception of territorial defence of the borders of the homeland to encompass defence against instability far from these borders. States now regularly dispatch their military forces in instances in which vital interests in the traditional meaning don’t seem to be at stake. The number of peace-support and nation building missions has almost quintupled since 1989.1 Initially spurred by the desire to protect human rights, it were the events of September 11, 2001 that gave renewed momentum to the concept of peace-support and nation-building missions, as it provided these missions with a strategic in addition to a humanitarian rationale. In this new strategic landscape, “wars of choice” and “wars of necessity” find themselves at a continuous spectrum and the question as to when states should decide to dispatch military forces and with what objectives has therefore resurfaced once again.

Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for horizon scanning, early warning, conflict analysis, national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. Tim has lectured at universities and military academies around the world. His main research interest concerns the changing character of contemporary conflict. Tim is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy and an Affiliate at the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.